Saturday, December 8, 2018

Spotlight on Students: The Effects of Heavy Metal on Listeners

The following is a post written by a student,  Cinthia Ochoa.  This post highlights her work that she completed as part of her requirements in Ant 411: Culture Areas of the World.  Students have the opportunity to explore material through their own research.  Please show your appreciation for her work through the comments.

By: Cinthia Ochoa

Many people have tried to stop heavy metal music. Groups have worked to censor the lyrics. Other have stopped musicians from performing. Parents and politicians swore that metal music would make teens violent and would use drugs. This leads to my curiosity question: Did heavy metal cause many individuals to fall victim to drug use, violence and devil worship?  
    In the article The Fate of All Metalheads, the author explains her experiences as former groupie of metal bands and someone who has an interest in heavy metal music. She explains that as someone who would do anything to go backstage with the band” she was around a lot of sex, drugs and rock n roll. That was in her youth. Now in her older years things have change. She is a psychology professor who conducted research to find out if metal heads around her age turned out to be productive members of society.
    According to her research many metal fans did engage in risky behaviors like, drug use and sex. A factor that must be considered is that these individuals were dealing with external turbulence. When metal heads were compared to other groups, metal heads reported to be happier. Other groups were more likely to seek counselling for emotional support (Howe 2018). This could because in the metal scene fans can release all the anger and tension they may have been holding inside them. It would not be socially acceptable for someone kick and scream while they scream lyrics of songs.
    While many adults (in 1980) fear the worse for their youth, this study indicates that metal heads were just as productive members of society as other groups who preferred other music. Usually individuals who did poorly did come from dysfunctional families and their inability to cope led to poor adjustment later in life.  In the end many of the individuals who listen to metal music had some similarities. They claimed a sense of freedom when they listen to metal music. Metal heads felt a sense of purpose, by being part of a social movement and standing up for what they believe and not conforming to the status quo. Being with likeminded people allowed them to feel a sense of comradery. For many of them it allowed them to face difficult situations.  Being able to release internal frustration and allowing the individual to express themselves. It can help an individual thrive. Unlike what was believed allowing metal heads to vent can not only be healthy for that individual but for those that surround them.

Howe, T. R. (n.d.). The Fate of The Metalheads. Retrieved October/November, 2018, from
Stacy, B. (Director). (2012, July 23). Metal: A headbanger's Journey [Video file]. Retrieved October 01, 2018, from
Varas-Díaz, N., Rivera-Segarra, E., Medina, C. L., Mendoza, S., & González-Sepúlveda, O. (2014). Predictors of communal formation in a small heavy metal scene: Puerto Rico as a case study. Metal Music Studies, 1(1), 87-103. doi:10.1386/mms.1.1.87_1

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Gift Giving Guide 10

Twice a year every year I dedicate a blog post to something a little different and fun: gifts for the anthropologist.  I attempt to highlight handmade and/or fair trade items as these most closely mirror the values of anthropology in cultural understanding and preservation.  If you happen to know an anthropologist, someone with interests in anthropology, or someone who shares these same values feel free to look into one of these amazing gifts this holiday season:

Cultural Anthropology

Do you know an anthropologist who has political interests and/or activism at heart?  If so they may be following in the foot steps of pioneering anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston, whose work on folklore, African American cultures, and activism are well known within the field.  This pillow might just be the perfect gift for that special anthropologist.  Available through DontSleepInteriors on Etsy.


If you know someone who is either pursuing a career in or has an interest in archaeology this watch might be the perfect gift.  It tells the time while also demonstrating the first step of the excavation process.  Available through SunnyRiverCreations on Etsy.

Linguistic Anthropology

Many find attempting to find the perfect gift for the linguistic anthropologist to be quite difficult, but this magnificent find might just be the best idea ever!  This unisex t-shirt plays with language as well as phonetics, making it a versatile gift for linguists in specific languages as well as in anthropology.  Even greater it comes in multiple colors, allowing you to customize this piece for your gift receiver.  Available through StagandPeachCo on Etsy.

Biological Anthropology

I always like to save the best anthropological subfield for last (yes, I might be a tad biased).  As biological anthropology is the most diverse of the four subfields a gift that is applicable to any individual in the field is probably your best bet, but that can be rather difficult to do since there are so many types of biological anthropologists.  This gift, however, might meet the expectations of all (or at least most) of those different anthropologists: a chimpanzee skeleton model.  Chimpanzees are a primate widely studied by primatologists, the skeleton is studied by bioarchaeologists, and paleoanthropologists will get practice putting the model together (much like what they do out in the field).  Therefore this gift may be the safest bet for a biological anthropologist (particularly if you are not sure what they are focusing on).  Available through Tinysaurs.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Spotlight on Students: Social Ramifications of Lip Stretching

The following is a post written by a student, Tiffany Creer.  This post highlights her work that she completed as part of her requirements in Ant 411: Culture Areas of the World.  Students have the opportunity to explore material through their own research.  Please show your appreciation for her work through the comments.

Suri woman with lip plate (Source: Pic Fair)
By: Tiffany Creer

My curiosity question for this week’s reading comes from watching the videos of the Suri women stretching their lips so that they would be married and families would receive cattle / marriage price. How is lip stretching seen among other tribes like the Suri? Are there any repercussions if women do not stretch their lips?  

In doing my research I’ve learned some interesting information about another tribe called the Mursi that also partakes in women lip stretching but the reason and how it is seen is a little different from the Suri tribe. The Mursi tribe does stretch women lips for marriage but a big difference is that the Mursi tribe is that they partake in arranged marriages that also have a prearranged marriage price even before the women starts to stretch her lip. “When seen in the light the lip-plate worn by Mursi women is an expression of female social adulthood and reproductive potential. Another tribe called the Kayapo is also different from the Suri and Mursi tribe because they men stretch their lips which are extremely rare in most African cultures. “ The lip-plate worn by a Kayapo man, which marks his fully adult status, but also to the penis sheath that is ‘bestowed’ on a Kayapo boy at puberty and which ‘symbolizes’ the collective appropriation of male powers of sexual reproduction for purposes of social reproduction (Turton 2004).”  Aside from lip stretching being a cultural practice that had lasted many of years throughout history it is clear that across tribes the lip plate has a similar meaning of fertility and readiness to marry just with different variations of specific details attached. 

To be a woman and not have your lip stretched plays and important part on how you can be perceived.  “The lip-plate is a powerful visual marker of Mursi identity. For a Mursi woman, not to have a pierced lip is to run the risk of being mistaken for a Kwegu, a client group of hunters who live along the banks of the Omo, while to have a pierced but not stretched lip is to run the risk of being mistaken for a Bodi, northern neighbors of the Mursi, with whom they are frequently at war (Bodi women insert small plugs in their lower lips) (Turton 2004)”. This means that aside from stretching your lip for marriage it is seen as a type of cultural identity marker in these tribes that can play a big part in survival as well as marriage and acceptance.

                                                   Work Cited
Turton, D. (2004). Lip-plates and the people who take photographs: Uneasy encounters between Mursi and tourists in southern Ethiopia. Anthropology Today, 20(3), 3-8. doi:10.1111/j.          0268-540x.2004.00266.x